Vatana Ni Kachori Chaat| Making Chaat From Matar Kachori

Winter is, slowly but surely, settling in in Bangalore. It is bright and sunny in the daytime, but it gets nippy in the early mornings and evenings. I can smell the coming of winter in the air. And one of the things that is synonymous with winter, for me, is the piping hot, home-made lilva kachoris that I grew up eating in Ahmedabad. With a gorgeous pigeon pea (fresh tuver) and/or fresh green peas (vatana) stuffing, these kachoris had the power to brighten up a gloomy winter’s day – they still hold the same magic for me.

When the Foodie Monday Blog Hop team decided upon #ChaatsForDiwali as the theme for this week, I was utterly overjoyed. I am a passionate adorer of all things chaat, and can have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I instantly knew that I had to make use of the fresh green peas that have begun to appear in the markets of Bangalore. The making of green pea kachoris aka Vatana Ni Kachori, and subsequently converting them into a chaat, came naturally.

So, here’s presenting to you Vatana Ni Kachori Chaat or Matar Kachori Chaat!

Loaded with the goodness of fresh, seasonal ingredients, these delicious kachoris are a delight to gorge on, by themselves. Using them in a chaat only hikes up their deliciousness-quotient quite a few notches. Deep-fried, sinful, chatpata gorgeousness – that is this chaat for you. This beauty surely deserves to find pride of place in your Diwali party. Try it out, and I’m sure you will fall in love with it too!

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients (makes 18-20 pieces):

For the filling:

  1. 3 cups fresh green peas
  2. 4 green chillies
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. Red chilli powder, to taste
  7. 3 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  8. 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
  9. 2 tablespoons garam masala or as needed
  10. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
  11. 2 tablespoons raisins
  12. 8-10 almonds
  13. 1 tablespoon oil
  14. 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  15. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds
  16. 2 pinches of asafoetida powder (hing)

For the kachori shells:

  1. 3 cups whole wheat flour
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 2 tablespoons oil + more for deep frying

Ingredients for serving:

  1. Sev, as needed
  2. Fresh grated coconut, as needed
  3. Finely chopped onion, as needed
  4. Chaat masala, as needed
  5. Finely chopped coriander, as needed
  6. Sweet-sour tamarind chutney, as needed
  7. Spicy green chutney, as needed

Method:

We will first get the dough ready, to make the outer shell of the kachoris.

  1. Take the 3 cups of whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in salt to taste.
  3. Adding water little by little, bind a soft dough similar to the one you would make for rotis.
  4. When the dough is almost ready, add in 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix into the dough.
  5. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, and then shape it into a ball.
  6. Let the dough rest, covered, till the other preparations are done and you are ready to make the kachoris.

Now, we will prepare the filling for the kachoris.

  1. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Chop the green chillies finely. Grind both together to a paste in a mixer, using a little water. Keep aside.
  2. Take the green peas in a large mixer jar. Pulse for a couple of seconds, then stop and scrape down the sides of the mixer jar. Pulse similarly 2-3 times, for a couple of seconds each, stopping to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar. The green peas should get coarsely crushed – do not make a fine paste. Keep aside.
  3. Chop the almonds, raw, into slivers. Keep aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add in the cumin and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Now, add the coarsely crushed green peas to the pan. Cook on medium flame for a minute, by which time the peas will begin to shrink a little.
  6. To the pan, add salt to taste, turmeric powder, garam masala, the ginger-garlic paste we prepared earlier, and the sugar. Cook for a minute more on medium flame.
  7. Add the slivered almonds, fresh grated coconut and raisins to the pan. Mix well, and cook on medium flame for a minute more. Switch off gas.
  8. Add finely chopped coriander to the filling in the pan. Mix well. The filling is ready! Keep aside and let it cool down completely.

Now, we will prepare the kachoris and deep fry them.

  1. Take the oil for deep frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place on high flame and allow it to heat up, till it reaches smoking point.
  2. Meanwhile, take a small ball of the dough that has been resting. Place it on a flour-dusted work surface and roll it out like a small roti.
  3. Place a generous amount of the green pea stuffing we prepared earlier in the centre of the circle. Close the roti, making a semi-circular shape. Gently seal the edges.
  4. When the oil reaches smoking point, lower the flame to medium. Drop the kachori you prepared in Step 3 above into the hot oil. Deep fry on medium heat till the kachori turns brown and crisp on the outside, taking care that it is evenly cooked and that it does not get burnt.
  5. Transfer the deep-fried kachori to a serving plate.

Prepare the Vatana Ni Kachori Chaat now.

  1. Use a knife to cut the hot kachori roughly into bite-sized pieces, in the serving plate.
  2. Drizzle some sweet-sour tamarind chutney and some spicy green chutney over it.
  3. Top with some finely chopped onion and coriander, some sev and fresh grated coconut.
  4. Add a bit of chaat masala on top. Serve immediately.
  5. Prepare all the Vatana Ni Kachori in a similar manner, using it to make chaat while still hot.

Notes:

  1. You can use a mix of maida and whole wheat flour to make the outer shell for the kachoris, like I have done here. In the above recipe, I have used only whole wheat flour.
  2. You can use slivered cashewnuts in the filling instead of almonds, if you so prefer.
  3. Make sure you get the oil for deep frying nice and hot, till it reaches smoking point. Then, turn down the flame to medium. Fry the rolls on medium flame, ensuring that they are fried evenly on all sides and that they do not get burnt.
  4. You can get as imaginative as you want with the toppings you use to make the chaat. Here, I have used whatever I had on hand at the moment.
  5. You can make the filling for the kachoris without garam masala, sugar or lemon juice, but I would not recommend that. Every single ingredient used in the filling contributes towards enhancing the textures and flavours of the chaat.
  6. You can use a mix of fresh green peas and pigeon peas (tuvar lilva or fresh tuvar) to make the filling, like I have done here. In the above recipe, though, I have made the filling using only green peas.
  7. If you are using frozen green peas, ensure that you bring them to room temperature first, before using them to make the filling.
  8. Click here for my recipe for the sweet-and-sour tamarind chutney I have used in the chaat.
  9. Click here for my recipe for the spicy green chutney I have used in the chaat.
  10. I have used store-bought fine sev from Chitalebandhu and chaat masala from Ciba Taaza to make the chaat.
  11. This chaat tastes best when the kachoris are hot. So, you could deep-fry a couple of kachoris, and then use them immediately to make the chaat.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis post is for Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is #ChaatsForDiwali, wherein members are sharing recipes for Diwali party-special chaats.

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #249. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

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Mug Nu Pani| Moong Bean Soup

Growing up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Mug Nu Pani or a thin soup made with whole green moong beans used to be the antidote to any and every ailment.

Feeling weak? Have Mug Nu Pani.

Broken bones? Give some Mug Nu Pani to the infirm.

Recovering from a fever? Nothing like Mug Nu Pani to bring back the lost strength.

Suffering from a broken heart? Some Mug Nu Pani will comfort him/her like nothing else.

You get the drift, right? No wonder Mug Nu Pani spells out comfort food, heartiness and recovery to me!

I love Mug Nu Pani, sick or not. A Gujarati neighbour of ours taught me how to make it, years ago, and I have been hooked to it ever since. It has saved my soul several times over, growing up, and still continues to do so.

To the uninitiated, a thin moong bean soup might sound very meh and uninteresting. Let me quickly assure you that this soup is anything but meh. At least, the Gujarati style of preparation makes this soup far from bland and dull. Mug Nu Pani is, in fact, quite a delicious soup, one choc-a-bloc with nutrition. It works wonders for the aged and infirm, growing children, and those who need a pick-me-up on a gloomy day. It isn’t very difficult to make, either.

Now, let’s check out the recipe for Mug Nu Pani aka Moong Bean Soup, the way that neighbour of mine taught me to make it.

Ingredients (makes 4-5 servings):

  1. 1/2 cup whole green moong
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1 teaspoon black pepper powder, or to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 1 teaspoon coriander (dhania) powder, or to taste
  6. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera) powder, or to taste
  7. Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  8. 1 tablespoon very finely chopped coriander leaves
  9. 1 teaspoons ghee
  10. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  11. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  12. 2 generous pinches asafoetida (hing)
  13. 4-5 cloves of garlic

Method:

1. Soak the moong beans for at least 8 hours or overnight, in just enough water to cover them entirely.

2. When the beans are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Add in enough fresh water to completely cover them, and pressure cook them for 4-5 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Meanwhile, chop the coriander finely, and keep aside. Peel the garlic and chop very finely. Keep aside.

4. When all the pressure from the cooker has gone down, get the cooked moong beans out. Mash them well with a masher.

5. Add a little fresh water to the vessel. Use your hands to mash the cooked moong beans further, extracting the flesh from them.

6. Again, add a little fresh water. Mash the cooked moong beans and extract the flesh from them. Repeat this process 3-4 times, until all the flesh from the moong beans has been extracted.

7. Now, discard the spent cooked moong beans. Strain the residual liquid using a fine strainer.

8. Take the liquid in a saucepan and place it on high heat. Add in salt and pepper powder. Allow it to come to a boil.

9. While the liquid is coming to a boil, we will prepare the tempering for the soup. For this, heat the ghee in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add in the cumin, finely chopped garlic and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Add this tempering to the soup when it is about to come to a boil.

10. Add coriander powder and cumin powder to the soup at this stage. Mix well.

11. When the Moong Bean Soup comes to a boil, reduce the flame to medium. Let the soup simmer for a minute, and then switch off the heat.

12. Mix in lemon juice and finely chopped coriander. Serve the Moong Bean Soup hot.

Notes:

  1. To make the cumin powder, dry roast some cumin seeds in a pan on high flame, till they begin to emit a lovely fragrance. Ensure that they do not burn. Let them cool down entirely, and then grind into a powder in a mixer. Store in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and use as needed. I make this powder in small batches every two weeks or so and use as and when I need it, in my daily cooking.
  2. To make the coriander powder, dry roast some coriander seeds (dhania) on high flame in a pan, till they begin to emit a nice fragrance. Ensure that they do not burn. Allow the coriander seeds to cool down completely, then grind into a powder in a mixer. This powder too can be made in small batches, and used in day-to-day cooking, as and when needed.
  3. This soup is supposed to be watery, not too watery, but definitely not thick. Use a fine strainer to remove any residual boiled green moong solids, for best results.
  4. Adjust the quantity of salt, black pepper powder, coriander powder, lemon juice and cumin powder you use in the soup, as per personal taste preferences.
  5. You may omit adding the finely chopped garlic to the soup, if you so prefer. Personally, though, I love it in the soup – I think it adds a lovely touch to it.
  6. To make the black pepper powder, just grind black peppercorns to a powder, using a mixer.
  7. Mash the cooked moong beans while they are still hot, just out of the cooker. This way, you will be able to extract maximum flesh out of them.
  8. After mashing the cooked moong beans once, you need to add fresh water to them little by little a little, 3-4 times, mashing the beans with your hands, extracting more flesh from them. In all, you’ll be adding about 1 cup of water at this stage. More than that, and the soup might get too watery.
  9. Some people pressure cook the moong beans, let them cool down, then blitz them in a mixer or hand blender, then strain the water and go on to prepare the soup as above.
  10. After extracting all the flesh from the cooked moong beans, all that remains is the husk, which you would be discarding. Hence, you need not worry about any loss of nutrition by doing so.
  11. Haven’t soaked green moong beans, but still want to make this soup? Well, you can. Just add about 1-1/2 cups of water to 1/2 cup whole moong beans, pop them in the pressure cooker, and give them 12-15 whistles – basically, blow them to smithereens. Once the pressure comes down entirely, mash the cooked moong beans and proceed to make the soup as above.

Did you like this recipe for Mug Nu Paani? Do tell me, in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Bean Power’, wherein the members are cooking delicious recipes using different types of whole beans.

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #247. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

 

Gujarati Dalwada| Mixed Lentil Fritters

We don’t do much of deep frying at home. It is only occasionally that we indulge in deep-fried snacks, sometimes to commemorate a special occasion, sometimes because the bub likes them, sometimes because we desperately crave for them. Right about now, the weather in Bangalore is perfect for deep-fried goodies – cloudy but bright mornings, followed by short showers in the evening. I absolutely had to dish up some Gujarati dalwada, one of my most favourite fried snacks!

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If you have never had Gujarati dalwada before, you must absolutely try them out right away. They are so delightful – crunchy from the outside and soft on the inside, beautiful in taste. I have grown up eating them on rainy days and, even today, I cannot think of monsoon without thinking of these beauties. A newspaper cone full of these dalwadas, served with some fried green chillies and salt-soaked thinly sliced onions, spells out B-L-I-S-S to me.

Different people make dalwada in different ways. Some use only split green moong to make them, while some use a mix of lentils of their choice. I prefer the latter, using a mix of lentils and some rice, as I feel this gives a much better texture and taste to the dalwadas. Today, I will share with you the recipe for mixed-lentil Gujarati dalwada, the way a friend of mine taught me to make them.

Here’s how to make Gujarati dalwada or mixed lentil fritters.

Ingredients (serves 5-6):

For the dalvadas:

  1. 1-1/2 cups split green moong
  2. 1/4 cup chana daal
  3. 1/4 cup split yellow moong daal
  4. 1/4 cup urad daal (whole or split)
  5. 1/4 cup raw rice
  6. Salt, to taste
  7. A 1-inch fat piece of ginger
  8. 8-10 cloves of garlic
  9. 6-8 green chillies, or as per taste
  10. A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves
  11. Oil, as needed for deep frying

For serving (optional):

  1. Onions, as needed
  2. Green chillies, as needed
  3. Salt, as needed
  4. Lemon slices, as needed

Method:

  1. Wash the split green moong, split yellow moong daal, urad daal, chana daal and raw rice together thoroughly under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the extra water.
  2. Place all the washed and drained ingredients in a large vessel, and pour in enough fresh water to cover them completely. Let these ingredients soak for at least 3-4 hours.
  3. Once the above ingredients are done soaking, drain out the water from them. You can reserve this water to use while grinding the batter or throw it away – that’s completely your choice. Transfer the soaked and drained ingredients to a mixer jar. Do not add in any water at this stage – just the soaked and drained ingredients.
  4. Chop the green chillies finely. Peel the ginger and chop it finely. Peel the garlic cloves. Add the green chillies, ginger and garlic to the mixer jar.
  5. Add salt to taste to the mixer jar.
  6. Grind the ingredients in the mixer jar coarsely. Pulse a couple of times for two seconds each, stopping in between to scrape down the sides of the jar. Remember that you need to coarsely crush the ingredients and not make a fine paste. You can add in a little of the soaking water you might have reserved earlier, if needed, while grinding. If you don’t feel the need to add any water while grinding, you need not add any. The batter needs to be thick and not runny.
  7. Chop the coriander finely and add it to the batter you just ground. Mix well and keep aside.
  8. Heat oil for deep frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. When it reaches smoking point, turn down the flame to medium. Drop balls of batter into the hot oil, 4-5 at a time. Deep fry evenly till the dalwadas turn brown. Serve hot.
  9. Gujarati dalwadas are typically served with thinly sliced onions mixed with a little salt, deep-fried green chillies with a little salt sprinkled on them, and slices of lemon. If you want to serve the dalwadas the traditional way, make sure you prep the onions, green chillies and lemon slices at the same time as the dalwadas get fried and ready. Alternatively, you can serve these fritters with tomato ketchup, though that isn’t something I personally prefer – I’d go for the traditional way, any day!

Notes:

  1. You can skip the garlic in the dalwadas, if you don’t prefer it. Personally, though, I would suggest adding it, as it takes up the taste of the dalwadas higher by several notches.
  2. Adjust the quantity of green chillies you use, depending upon how spicy you want the dalwadas to be.
  3. My mom makes these dalwadas using just split green moong. She soaks 2-3 cups of split green moong for 3-4 hours, then drains out the excess water and grinds it with green chillies, garlic and salt to taste. Mom’s dalwadas are delish too, but I prefer the ones I make, with raw rice, urad daal, split moong daal and chana daal added in.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #235. The co-hosts this week are Mara @ Put on Your Cake Pants and Hilda @ Along the Grapevine.

I’m also sharing this with Friday Frenzy.

 

Cheese & Chutney Corn On The Cob

Corn on the cob is a hugely popular snack across India, one you will find being sold on the streets almost everywhere. The most common way to eat it, though, is boiled or char-grilled, with a generous dose of salt/chaat masala/red chilli powder and lemon. Today, I present to you a different way of eating corn – Cheese & Chutney Corn On The Cob.

Here, I have slathered boiled corn with spicy green chutney, which bursts with flavour, and eliminates the need for any other spices. The corn has also been sprinkled generously with grated cheese. This is an indulgent snack, an extremely delicious one, though.

The inspiration for this recipe for Cheese & Chutney Corn On The Cob comes from the street-side food carts of Ahmedabad, which I have grown up frequenting. Many of these street carts offer unimaginable varieties of corn on the cob – from the simple Butter-Lemon Corn to Schezwan Corn and Cheese-Chutney Corn. While those street carts typically use huge pots of boiling water to cook the corn, I have pressure cooked the cobs. I have also used my own version of green chutney, and grated cheese instead of the cheese spread that is commonly used by these carts.

I hope you like this simple, but delectable snack!

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 2 fresh cobs of sweet corn
  2. Spicy green chutney, as needed (See notes for the recipe)
  3. 2 cubes of cheese, grated, or as needed

Method:

  1. Peel the cobs of sweet corn and remove all the silk.
  2. Break each cob into two and place in a large vessel. Add in just enough water to cover the corn cobs.
  3. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
  4. When the pressure has completely gone down, remove the cooked corn cobs from the water. Shake them gently to drain out all the excess water.
  5. Spread spicy green chutney evenly over the cooked corn cobs.
  6. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly over the corn cobs. Place on a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Click here for the recipe that I use to make the spicy green chutney. Make sure you don’t add too much water while making the spicy green chutney. Only then will you be able to spread it well on the corn cobs.
  2. Use as much or as little spicy green chutney and grated cheese as you want to.
  3. I have used Amul Processed Cheese in this dish. You can use any variety of cheese that you prefer, instead.
  4. Make sure the corn is served immediately after preparation. Don’t let it sit around for too long once you have spread the spicy green chutney and the grated cheese over it.
  5. You can even char-grill the corn or roast it on the gas stove, instead of pressure-cooking it like I have done here.

Did you like this recipe for Cheese & Chutney Corn On The Cob? Do tell me, in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop
This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘recipes using corn’.

I’m also sending this recipe for Fiesta Friday #230, co-hosted this week by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.

Pattarveliya| Patra| Gujarati Steamed Colocasia Leaves

The heart-shaped leaves of the colocasia plant – also called pattarveliya, arbi, elephant ear or taro – are considered a delicacy amongst several cultures in India. The most common way of consuming these leaves is in the form of rolls, usually with a paste made of gram flour and one or the other souring agent spread over them. There are little variations in how different parts of India cook these rolls – the Gujaratis call them Patra, and use sesame seeds, jaggery and a hint of garam masala in them, for instance, while the Pathrode of the Udupi-Mangalore regions uses ground rice, coconut, curry leaves and urad daal. I’m a big, big, big fan of the Gujarati-style Patra made using these colocasia leaves!

Growing up in Ahmedabad, Patra would be a common tea-time snack at our place, sometimes store-bought, often home-made. They suit my taste buds just fine – a medley of sweet and sour and salty and spicy. We also loved them because they were so healthy – they are steamed, after all, with no oil, and how much oil to use in the tempering depends entirely upon you!

Back in Ahmedabad, Appa would get big bunches of colocasia leaves when he returned from his weekly round of the local vegetable market. I would get overjoyed to see the big green leaves peeking out of his cloth bag, because that meant that delicious patra would soon be in the making in our kitchen. 🙂 When I shifted to Bangalore, I was so disappointed to see colocasia leaves not very commonly available. After a few years of missing them badly and grappling with the sad, wilted leaves we would sometimes get hold of in certain stores only, I began growing them at home! Yes, that’s how much I love my Patra! 🙂 The dish you see above is made from home-grown colocasia leaves – just how awesome is that?!

Gujarati-style patra is not a very difficult thing to make. The proceedure is quite simple, actually. What it does need is a bit of patience and practice – with time, the movements of cutting the stubborn nerves off without damaging the leaves, that of spreading the gram flour mixture evenly on the leaves, that of rolling up the leaves together, that of steaming them in a way that water doesn’t touch them, become more and more natural and easier. So, if you are about to make patra for the first-ever time and the proceedure looks daunting, please don’t worry – just keep at it and it will become all smooth in time! The end result is totally worth it, I tell you.

Here is how to make Patra, Gujarati-style.

Ingredients (serves 2):

For the colocasia leaf rolls:

  1. 4 medium-sized tender colocasia leaves
  2. 3/4 cup gram flour aka besan
  3. A small piece of tamarind
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 2-3 green chillies
  6. Salt to taste
  7. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. 2 pinches asafoetida powder
  9. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  10. 2 tablespoons jaggery powder

For the tempering:

  1. 4-5 tablespoons oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard
  3. 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  4. 2 pinches asafoetida
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut

For the garnishing:

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Method:

First, we will get the colocasia leaf rolls ready.

1. Wash the colocasia leaves thoroughly. Pat dry gently with a cotton cloth.

2. Use a pair of scissors to trim down the stem and thicker veins on the leaves, taking care to ensure that the leaves don’t get cut in the process. Keep aside.

3. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for at least 10 minutes. When it cools down, extract a thick juice from the tamarind layer. Keep aside.

4. Peel ginger and chop finely. Chop green chillies finely. Grind both of these ingredients together in a mixer, using a little water. Keep aside.

4. Take the gram flour in a large mixing bowl. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder, garam masala, jaggery powder, 2 pinches of asafoetida, the tamarind extract and the ginger-green chillies paste. Mix to a smooth paste using a little water – it should be thick and not too runny. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

5. Spread out the biggest colocasia leaf on a clean work surface, face down. Spread some of the gram flour paste evenly over the entire surface of the leaf. Place another leaf over this, face down, and spread some paste all over it too. Similarly, place another leaf on top, spread some paste, place the last leaf on top, spread the last of the paste. Fold the right and left edges of the leaves together, inwards. Then, roll all the leaves together tightly, from top to bottom. Place the prepared roll in a colander to steam evenly.

Now, we will steam the colocasia leaf roll.

6. Take 1 cup water in a pressure cooker bottom. Place a tall stand over it. Place the colander with the roll atop the stand.

7. Close the pressure cooker and put the whistle on. Allow 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure come down naturally.

8. After the pressure has entirely gone down, open the pressure cooker and allow the roll to cool down. When the roll is cool enough to handle, cut it into pieces that are neither too thick nor too thin.

Now, we will temper the pieces.

9. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard and allow it to pop.

10. Add in the sesame seeds and the asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

11. Lower flame to medium. Add in the cooked colocasia pieces. Stir gently to coat the pieces evenly with the tempering.

12. Add in the grated coconut. Mix gently. Cook for a couple of seconds on medium flame. Switch off gas.

Lastly, add the garnishing.

13. Add the finely chopped coriander to the pan. Mix gently. Serve the patra hot – they are best had straight off the pan, but can be had cold too.

Check out the following pictures to get a clearer idea of how to make Patra.

Top (left to right): Trimming the stems on the colocasia leaves and spreading the gram flour paste on them; Centre: Rolling up the leaves together; Bottom: Left – the roll ready to go into the pressure cooker; Centre – the roll placed in a colander to cook; Right – the roll cooked and ready

Notes:

1. You can even deep-fry the colocasia leaf rolls, if you want. I prefer the non-deep-fried version, just a simple tempering as above.

2. Do not add more than 4 medium-sized colocasia leaves in a single roll, otherwise it will become too large and unwieldy. If the leaves are too big, roll them 2 at a time.

3. Some people add garlic to the gram flour. I usually don’t.

4. You can do the tempering with ajwain aka carom seeds, instead of mustard – too. I prefer the mustard, though.

5. Amchoor powder can be used instead of tamarind, to add sourness to the patra.

6. Make sure you use a tall stand inside the pressure cooker while steaming the colocasia leaf roll. No water should enter the colander in which you will place the roll.

7. A colander helps in even steaming of the roll, rather than using a closed vessel.

8. You can use red chilli powder instead of green chillies, to spice up the colocasia leaf roll. Use as many or as few green chillies as you want, depending upon how spicy you want the roll to be.

9. Choose fresh, tender colocasia leaves to make this dish, preferably with black veins. Don’t choose mature leaves, as there are more chances of them causing itchiness on your tongue and in your throat.

10. A steamer can be used to cook the colocasia leaf roll, too. We prefer using a pressure cooker instead.

Did you like this recipe for Gujarati-Style Patra? Do let me know in your comments!

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I’m sending this recipe over to Fiesta Friday #228.

Street Food Journey In Ahmedabad

Whenever I think about Gujarati food, the first thing that pops into my head is the famous Kareena Kapoor dialogue from 3 Idiots – “Tum Gujarati log itne cute hote ho … par tum log ka khana itna khatarnak kyun hota hai?dhokla, fafda, handva, thepla … aise lagta hai jaise koi missiles hai!

Having grown up in Gujarat, the names of Gujarati snacks are as familiar to me as the back of my hand. This dialogue made me realise that the same might not be so for the rest of the world. Later, when I began travelling across India, I realised that a whole lot of the gorgeous Gujarati snacks I grew up eating are not even known by most people or, worse, are mixed up. No, people, khaman and dhokla are not the same, khamni and khandvi are not just different names for the same thing!

So, this post is a little attempt at demystifying the beautiful thing that Gujarati food is. This is an account of some of the street food that we tried out on our recent visit to Ahmedabad. Of course, this is not all there is to Gujarati food – I have barely scratched the surface here. These just form part of the proverbial iceberg!

Now, let’s check out all the street food we hogged on in Ahmedabad, shall we?

  1. Khaman from Radhe Khaman

Pillow soft, juicy, absolutely delicious steamed cakes made from gram flour (besan) – that’s khaman for you. Slightly sweet and sour, khaman seasoned with fried green chillies, lots of finely chopped fine coriander and mustard, is a common snack across Gujarat. They are a popular breakfast item as well. Don’t be fooled by how delicate they look – they are quite filling!

In Gujarat, khaman is commonly served with a delicious runny chutney made of gram flour, and/or a dry salad made with raw papaya (called ‘kachumber‘).

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Plain Khaman from Radhe Khaman

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: Growing up, I used to love the fluffy, juicy khaman that Mehta Farsan House at Vadilal used to serve. On our last visit to Ahmedabad, though, I came to know that Mehta – a childhood landmark for me – doesn’t exist any more. 😦 So, we gorged on khaman brought home by a cousin from Radhe’s, another popular joint in the city, and they were absolutely blissful! Radhe’s apparently offers a whole lot of varieties of khaman, but we were content to stuff ourselves with the simple, basic Plain Khaman.

Raipur Bhajia House and Das Khaman are two other places in Ahmedabad which serve simply beautiful khaman.

2. The Gujju-fied version of pizza at Jasuben’s Old Pizza

Decades ago, Jasuben, a Gujarati homemaker started making ‘bhakri pizzas’ – little pizzas with a home-made semi-crunchy crust, smeared with a very desi sweetish gravy, doused with a generous amount of grated cheese, and baked in a gas oven. These pizzas became hugggeeelyyyy popular, and Old Pizza came into existence in Law Garden, Ahmedabad, to sell these pizzas to the general public. Today, there are scores of Old Pizza outlets all over Ahmedabad, and several other restaurants offering these bhakri pizzas. The popularity of Old Pizza shot through the roof after Prime Minister Narendra Modi once called it a great example of female entrepreneurship.

These pizzas have always been a huge favourite with me. I absolutely couldn’t miss checking them out on our Ahmedabad trip! The quality and the taste of the pizzas was just the same as I remembered them to be, and I fell in love with them all over again! 🙂

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Italian Pizza at Jasuben’s Old Pizza

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: You can try this out at any of the Old Pizza outlets in town, including the original Law Garden one. We visited the outlet at Prahlad Nagar.

3. Dalwada from Ambika Dalwada

Gujarati dalwada taste absolutely fantastic, especially if you have them on a dark, rainy day. They are deep-fried balls of a special batter made from broken moong, with the skin on. They are typically served in a newspaper cone, with salt-doused thinly sliced onions and fried green chillies.

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Dalwada from Ambika Dalwada

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: I think Khadawala, a little street-side stall near Ellis Bridge, made the bestest of dalwadas in Ahmedabad. Sadly, Khadawala doesn’t exist any more. Gujarat Dalwada and Ambika Dalwada are the two next best outlets, if you want to try out this Gujarat-special snack, with several branches across the city. The dalwadas here are quite different from those at Khadawala, but they are pretty good too.

4.  Dabeli at Jay Bhavani

It would be very tough for me to choose just one favourite from all the lovely Gujarati snacks I have grown up eating. If I simply had to, though, dabeli would rank among the top three for sure. That sweetish potato filling, that fine sev, those pomegranate arils and gorgeous tangy and spicy chutneys all fit into a buttered and toasted slice of pav – that’s heaven!

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Dabeli at Jay Bhavani

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: Most street-side carts in Ahmedabad will do a great job of making the dabeli, I can say from experience. I am not sure if the carts I grew up eating them from exist any more, though. Jay Bhavani makes it really, really well, if you’d like to try this out, and they are at multiple locations throughout the city.

5. Buffvada at a roadside stall in Dhalgarwad

Buffvada is, basically, fasting food in Gujarat. A shell made of potatoes and arrowroot flour is stuffed with a filling made of dry fruits, nuts, coconut, ginger and green chilly, sometimes pomegranate seeds too. This is then deep-fried to perfection. Bliss in every bite, if you ask me.

The buffvada that we had at a roadside stall in Dhalgarwad

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: Sadly, it is not very easy to find buffvada in Ahmedabad, especially when there are no festivals around the corner. Very few places make this, and fewer still make it the right way. Mehta Farsan House at Vadilal used to do some really love buffvadas but, considering they have closed down now, we tried them out at a tiny road-side stall in Dhalgarwad and found them just about average. If you want to sample them, I would suggest you head to any of the various Das outlets in town – I understand they make some killer buffvadas, from what I’ve heard!

6. Neera from any roadside stall

Palm nectar or the sap extracted from palm trees is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Not only is it loaded with health benefits, but tastes absolutely scrumptious as well. Locally called neera, the sap is extracted before sunrise and is sold off at roadside stalls before noon, before it begins to ferment. It is typically available in the winter months – knocking down a couple of glasses of cold, cold neera on a cold, cold winter morning is an experience in itself!

The neera we tried out at a roadside stall in Gota, Ahmedabad

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: Go to any of the government-recognised neera stalls by the roadside in Ahmedabad, and you are sure to get a genuine, good glassful. The authentic stuff tastes absolutely lovely, cool and sweet. Beware of fake stalls that sell sugar water in the name of neera – they exist too!

7. Ragda Pattice at Swastik, Municipal Market

Ragda Pattice would rank right up there, among my top three favourite Gujju snacks. For the uninitiated, I would say this is the Gujarati version of aloo tikki chaat – potato patties pan-fried till the outer shell is crispy, then dunked in a lovely sweet-spicy gravy made of peas, served with a generous dose of chopped onions and coriander, sweet tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney. If you haven’t tried this out, you are seriously missing out!

Ragda Pattice in the making at Swastik, Municipal Market

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: My family and I have been eating ragda pattice at Swastik, a roadside stall in Municipal Market, ever since I was a kid. I have seen the same gentleman making it over the years – he has grown older, and we have too. On our recent visit to Ahmedabad, we headed back here for our fill of ragda pattice and, I am absolutely thrilled to report, it still tastes the same – out-of-the-world delish. Don’t go by the shabby look of the place – just go ahead, trust me, and grab a plate. This guy makes the best in Ahmedabad! He takes pride in the fact that he uses only pure Amul ghee to make them, too!

8. Dal Pakwaan at Jay Jhulelal, Vastrapur Lake

Crisp, fried pooris (pakwaan) served with a delicious tempered chana daal gravy (daal) is a common breakfast combination in Sindhi households. I tried it out for the first-ever time, on our recent trip to Ahmedabad, and absolutely loved it. The flavours were so subtle, yet so beautiful!

Dal Pakwaan at Jay Jhulelal, Vastrapur Lake

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: A cousin of mine insisted on dragging me to this little outlet near Vastrapur Lake, called Jay Jhulelal, which apparently makes the best Dal Pakwaan in town. I am so thankful he did that – the dish we sampled there was such a beauty, inside and out! I’d recommend you to visit the same place if you wish to try this dish out – I’m not sure of where else you get good Dal Pakwaan in the city.

9. Sev Khamni, Khandvi and Idada at Das

Sev Khamni is yet another gorgeous, gorgeous Gujarati snack that I can have any time of the day. Chana daal is soaked for a few hours, then ground and cooked with chosen spices, to be served with a generous dousing of pomegranate arils, coriander and fresh coconut. Love! (Click here for the Sev Khamni recipe on my blog!)

Khandvi refers to thin, thin, thin rolls of cooked chickpea flour (besan) batter, beautifully salted and slightly sour in taste, tempered with loads of coriander, mustard, fresh coconut and sesame seeds. It requires loads of finesse, practice and patience to make, but it well worth the effort!

Now, Idada refers to steamed cakes of a white batter made of rice and urad daal, not unlike idli batter. Commonly served with a tempering of mustard, sesame and coriander, pillowy Idada or White Dhokla are an absolute pleasure to eat.

Each of these three Gujarati snacks – Sev Khamni, Khandvi and Idada – are super healthy, cooked with minimal or no oil (except for the fried sev, of course)!

Left: Sev Khamni; Top right: Khandvi; Bottom right: Idada; all at Das

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: Das is a great place to hog on any of the above three old-world Gujju snacks. There are several outlets across the city – take your pick!

10. Chana Jor Garam off a roadside stall

Chana Jor Garam, I’m sure most of you already know. It is probably not the healthiest of snacks, but God, it is so delicious!

A Chana Jor Garam vendor outside Kankaria Lake

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: Pick up a newspaper cone brimming with Chana Jor Garam from any of the several road-side vendors selling it in town. Most of them make it well – you can customise it to your liking too – and it isn’t too expensive either!

11. Chaats at Honest

I’ve grown up eating the most delectable of paav bhaji, pulao and chaats at Honest. Back then, they used to have just a couple of outlets – now, they seem to have mushroomed all over the city! I absolutely had to go and try out Honest, on our last visit to Ahmedabad, but I ended up utterly disappointed with most of the food there. Prices seem to have quadrupled, while the quality of the paav bhaji and pulao seems to have gone down four times. 😦 The chaats that I tried out here – Bhel Poori and Chatni Poori – were still lovely, the way I remember them being all those years ago. Some school friends that I spoke to echoed my thoughts about Honest exactly – that the taste and quality of the food has, indeed, drastically gone down. Many of them now don’t go to Honest any more. They rather prefer going to small road-side stalls near their homes for their paav bhaji and pulao fix.

Wondering what chatni poori is? It is a cross between sev poori and pani poori, a gorgeous confection that I am not sure if you get outside of Gujarat. The small, round pooris that are used to make golgappas form the base of the chatni poori, which is served with assorted chutneys, lots of fine sev, onions and coriander. Had at the right place, it tastes absolutely lovely.

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Top Left: Pav Bhaji; Bottom Left: Pulao; Top Right: Bhel Poori; Bottom Right: Chatni Poori; all at Honest

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: Considering the utterly forgettable paav bhaji and pulao I had at Honest, I definitely would not be recommending them. I think you would be better off trying these from the small carts that litter most alleys of Ahmedabad.

Go to Honest for the chaats, though, especially the chatni poori. If you are a chaat freak like me, I am sure you will love it. Of course, there are a lot of other places that will serve you glorious chaat in Ahmedabad, but I speak only of Honest because that was the only place where we tried them out, in the limited time we had available to us.

12. Kulfis at Asharfi

Asharfi is an age-old establishment in Ahmedabad, one that has wowed generations of citizens with its creamy, delectable kulfi. Like Honest, Asharfi outlets too seem to have mushroomed all over the city. Thankfully, the taste and quality of the kulfis we tried out at Asharfi still remains great, as it always used to be.

Top Left: Anjeer Kulfi; Bottom Left: Roasted Almond Kulfi; Right: Pista Kulfi

Best places to try this out in Ahmedabad: Don’t miss the old-world kulfis at Asharfi, whenever you get a chance to visit Ahmedabad. The Chocolate Kulfi, Pista Kulfi, Sitaphal Kulfi and Mixed Kulfi are personal favourites – they come highly recommended!

Well, that’s all about our street food journey in Ahmedabad! I hope you enjoyed reading the post!

So, the next time you visit the city, you know where to head to, for a happy tummy, eh?

Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak| Gujarati Black Chickpea Curry

Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak is an utterly delectable Gujarati-style black chickpea curry, a beautiful medley of flavours. It is sweet, it is spicy, it is salty, it is tangy. It makes for just the perfect accompaniment to rotis and parathas, and goes well with dosas and steamed rice as well. When Shantaben, a Gujarati neighbour of ours, taught me how to make this Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak, I was amazed by its simplicity. How can a curry be so simple, yet so delicious, I wondered. But it was just that – beautifully simple, elegant and absolutely scrumptious.

My memories of Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak and Shantaben are inextricably tied to Thatha, my paternal grandfather.

My grandfather lost both his parents when he was around 3 years of age. His father died first, and then, his mother followed, in about a week’s time. It was Thatha‘s elder sister who took care of him, who brought him up, made sure he was educated and settled in a job. ‘We were living in hard times then. A bowl of day-old curd rice would feel heavenly to us, like a God-sent gift,’ he would always tell me. ‘You kids have too much. Too much choice, too much more stuff than you really need,’ he would say. As I grew up, I began to understand what he meant.

Thatha was in his 20s when he moved from the little village in Tamilnadu where he grew up to Gujarat, to pursue higher education. By then, he was already married to my grandmother, Paati. In Baroda, Gujarat, Thatha found himself a job in a textile mill (mills were big in Gujarat then!), and began to study Textile Technology. He began to send money back home to Paati and, slowly and gradually, started carving out a life for himself.

In the course of his career, Thatha moved to Ahmedabad (that explains my connection with the city!), and took on a better job in a better textile mill. Once he had saved enough for a down payment on an apartment in the city, he bought it. This house was palatial compared to the one he grew up in! When he thought he was making enough to comfortably manage a family in a city, Paati came to Ahmedabad to live with her husband. Three children came into the picture – all sons – and one of them was my dad. It was in this house that Thatha bought in Ahmedabad where I grew up and lived for a considerable chunk of my life.

Shantaben, an elderly Gujarati lady, lived in the apartment above us, in Ahmedabad. She had lost her husband when she was young, and had no children of her own. Thatha began seeing in Shantaben the sister who had lovingly raised him after their parents’ passing away. Shantaben began seeing our family as her own. It was at a meal at Shantaben‘s home – I don’t remember for what occasion – that this Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak was served to us. I was a teenager then, I guess. It was our first tryst with this beauty, and all of us loved, loved, loved it. When we told Shantaben about this, a few days later, she laughed. ‘This is something we make regularly, in Gujarati households. It is nothing special!,’ she said. ‘Come, I’ll teach you how to make it!,’ and whisked Amma and me away to her kitchen. We saw, we learnt, and the rest is history, as they say.

Here is how to make the Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak, Shantaben‘s way.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. 1-1/4 cup black chickpeas aka kala chana
  2. 2 tablespoons oil
  3. 2 pinches of asafoetida aka hing
  4. 1 teaspoon mustard aka rai
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin aka jeera
  6. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  7. Salt, to taste
  8. A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  9. 1/2 teaspoon tamarind powder
  10. Red chilli powder, to taste
  11. 1 tablespoon garam masala, or to taste
  12. 2-3 tablespoons powdered jaggery, or to taste
  13. 8-10 sprigs of fresh coriander leaves
  14. About 1-1/2 tablespoon gram flour aka besan

Method:

1. Wash the kala chana thoroughly under running water. Soak them overnight, in just enough water to cover them.

2. In the morning, drain off the water from the kala chana, and add just enough fresh water to cover them. Pressure cook the kala chana for 4 whistles. Let the pressure come down naturally, and keep the kala chana aside. Do not discard the water in which the kala chana was pressure cooked – reserve it for use later in making the Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak.

3. Soak the tamarind in boiling water, for about 10 minutes. When the tamarind is cool enough to handle, extract a thick paste out of it, adding water little by little. Keep aside.

4. Chop the coriander finely. Keep aside.

5. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the mustard, and allow it to splutter. Add the cumin, asafoetida and the curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

6. Now, turn the flame to medium. Add the cooked kala chana and the reserved water (which they were cooked in).

7. Add in salt to taste, jaggery and tamarind paste. Mix well.

8. Cook uncovered on medium flame for 4-5 minutes, or till 75% of the water has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasonings as required.

9. Meanwhile, make a paste of the gram flour in a little water, in a small bowl. Keep handy.

9. When the gravy has cooked for 4-5 minutes, add in the garam masala and the gram flour paste. Mix well. Cook uncovered on medium flame for about 2 minutes more. Switch off the gas when the gravy begins to thicken, but is still a tad watery. If you feel the gravy has become too thick at this stage, add a bit of water. Remember that the curry will become even thicker on cooling.

10. Mix in finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rotis, parathas, pooris, steamed rice.

Notes:

  1. I have always had this Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak as a no onion-no garlic preparation, and so make it the same way. We like it this way as well. If you want to, you may add some finely chopped garlic, ginger and onions after the tempering is done.
  2. Sugar can be used in place of jaggery powder.
  3. Remember to pressure cook the kala chana in just enough water to cover them. The water in which they are cooked is full of protein and, hence, it is a good idea to retain it and use it in making the curry.
  4. If you want to, you can add in some cumin powder and coriander powder, along with the garam masala. I usually skip this, as I like keeping this curry as simple as I can.
  5. Amma adds in sambar masala instead of the garam masala, in making this Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak. The result, although not strictly Gujarati, still tastes awesome.
  6. Tomato puree can be used in making this curry, in place of the tamarind paste. Alternatively, you could use a mix of tomato puree and tamarind paste. Squeeze in a dash of lemon juice at the end, if you feel the tanginess from the tomatoes and/or tamarind is not enough.
  7. I use home-made garam masala to make this Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak.
  8. I like to keep this curry quite runny, almost like a daal, rather than making it thick. Adjust the consistency of the gravy as per your personal taste preferences.

Did you like this recipe? I hope you will try out this Rasawala Kala Chana Nu Shaak too, and that you will love it as much as we do!

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #220, co-hosted by Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Discovering The Prickly Pear (Cactus Fruit/Findla) In Ahmedabad

When the husband and I set out to attend the International Kite Festival 2018, on our recent visit to Ahmedabad, little did we know that we were going to make a foodie discovery!

The moment we walked in the entrance at the kite festival, we found ourselves in a sprawling food court, peppered with everything from Gujarati farsan and winter delicacies to ice cream and cakes. It was at one of these stalls that I spotted these prickly, pretty pinkish-red fruits displayed in a basket. I was drawn in, and absolutely had to go and find out what these were. Soon enough, I gathered that these were the fruits of the wild cactus – called ‘Findla‘ in Gujarati, often referred to as ‘Cactus Pear’ or ‘Prickly Pear’ – and… they are very much edible!

Findla aka Cactus Pear or Prickly Pear on display at the International Kite Festival 2018 at Ahmedabad

The people manning the stall – from an Ahmedabad-based firm called Royal Gabat – told us of vast quantities of cactus growing wild in the arid rural areas in Gujarat. Cactus plants are also widely used by farmers to fence off their land. Flowers and prickly fruits grow on these cactus plants throughout the year, fruits that tribals and people from the villages have been consuming for ages now. Only recently, though, has research been done on the health benefits that these fruits hold, the staff at the stall told us. And, apparently, the fruits do possess nutritional benefits by the truckloads.

Cactus Pear aka Prickly Pear or Findla has anti-cancer properties, helps manage diabetes and high cholesterol, aids in weight management, promotes good dental health, helps relieve arthritis and muscle strain, boosts the immune system, and aids the production of iron in the body. These fruits – and the health benefits one can gain from them – are not very popular in the urban areas, and that was just what Royal Gabat had set out to rectify. The firm produces a variety of food products using the Prickly Pear – from syrups and jams to a ready-to-drink juice. The fruits have a lovely sourish taste to them, which lends itself beautifully to juices and jams. A lot of care needs to be exercised in handling the Prickly Pear, however, as their surface is full of thorns.

The beautiful findla sherbet or prickly pear juice we tried out at the stall

For a princely sum of INR 20, the husband and I sampled a glass of the ready-to-drink findla sherbet – juice made from the Prickly Pear, with rock sugar instead of the regular refined sugar. It tasted absolutely delicious, sweet and tangy and cool and refreshing. I am so glad I got to taste this beauty and discover this wonderful fruit!

Since our luggage was already threatening to exceed the permissible in-flight weight limits, we restrained ourselves from picking up any of the Prickly Pear goodies from the stall. 😦 We don’t use much bottled, packaged stuff, anyway.

Prickly Pear Jam on sale at the Royal Gabat stall

I think I would love to experiment with the fresh fruits in my kitchen, whenever I can get hold of them. They would make some awesome desserts, me thinks. Any leads on where I can find Prickly Pears or Cactus Pears in Bangalore?

Check out this Wikipedia link for more info about the Prickly Pear!

Gujarati Kadhi Recipe

We are quite the kadhi-loving family. A well-made cup of kadhi makes our day. We love most versions of kadhi – from the non-sweetened Gujarati one and the South Indian more kozhambu to the Himachali rehru. Making kadhi is always the preferred way to use up any leftover curd in the house.

Today, I am going to share the recipe for another version of Gujarati kadhi, sweetened with jaggery or sugar. This is a very simple dish, rendered full of flavour thanks to the assorted spices that go into the tempering. This Gujarati kadhi makes for a beautiful accompaniment to phulka rotis and sabzi, with khichdi or plain steamed rice.

Let’s now see how to make this Gujarati kadhi, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

Basic ingredients:

  1. 3 cups home-made sour curd
  2. 1.5-2 cups water
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 3 tablespoons besan aka gram flour
  6. 2-3 green chillies
  7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  8. 3-4 tablespoons sugar or jaggery powder
  9. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves

For the tempering:

  1. 1 tablespoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds aka rai
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds aka jeera
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 1 sprig curry leaves
  6. A 1-inch piece of cinnamon bark
  7. 4-5 cloves
  8. 4-5 dry red chillies

Method:

1. In a large pan, mix together the curd, water, salt to taste, jaggery or sugar, turmeric powder and gram flour. Whisk well.

2. Slit the green chillies length-wise, and add them to the pan.

3. Peel the ginger and grate it finely. Add the grated ginger to the pan. Whisk well once again.

4. Now, place the pan with the prepared curd mixture on medium flame. Stirring intermittently, cook till it comes to a boil.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the tempering in a separate pan. For this, heat the oil in a pan. Turn flame to low-medium. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Add in the cumin and the asafoetida, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Add the cloves, cinnamon bark (broken into two), curry leaves and dry red chillies. Leave them in for just a couple of seconds, stirring with a spoon to prevent clumping. Switch off gas, and keep aside.

6. After the curd mixture has come to a boil, lower flame further. Now, add the prepared tempering to the mixture. Simmer for a minute, stirring intermittently. Switch off gas.

7. Chop the coriander finely. Add to the prepared Gujarati kadhi. Serve hot, with phulkas or steamed rice.

Notes:

  1. It is best to cook the Gujarati kadhi on a low-medium flame, to prevent curdling. Similarly, prepare the tempering on a low-medium flame, too, to prevent burning.
  2. Use sour curd for best results. If your curd is not sour, leave it outside, at room temperature, for about half a day for it to turn sour.
  3. I have used home-made curd to make this Gujarati kadhi. It was only moderately thick, so I have used only about 1.5 cups water. If you are using store-bought curd that is very thick, you might want to use more water. The curd-water-gram flour mixture that you prepare must be runny and not very thick, but not very watery either.
  4. We do not use red chilli powder in Gujarati kadhi. The only heat in the kadhi is from the grated ginger and the green chillies. Increase/decrease the quantity of green chillies you use, depending upon how hot you want the kadhi to be.
  5. You can either finely grate the ginger or make a paste, before adding it to the curd mixture.
  6. While preparing the tempering, add the dry red chillies at the very end, to prevent them from exploding. You can make the tempering in oil or ghee, or use a mix of oil and ghee. I have used just refined oil here.
  7. Do not skip the jaggery or sugar – sweetness is a must in Gujarati kadhi. Let your tastebuds determine the quantity of jaggery or sugar you want to use. You can also use raw cane sugar or palm jaggery here.
  8. Make sure all the ingredients are well integrated with the curd, before proceeding to make the kadhi. I use a small wooden whisk to make sure everything is well incorporated together.

Do try out this Gujarati kadhi, and let me know how you liked it!

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This recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge that I am part of. The theme for this month is ‘Gujarati recipes’. I was paired with Shailaja Reddy, who writes at Sahasra Recipes, and she gave me two ingredients to work with – curd and gram flour (besan). This Gujarati kadhi is what I decided to make with these secret ingredients.

The Sabarmati Riverfront, Ahmedabad, And Glimpses From the Flower Show 2018

Once upon a time, very, very long ago, the Sabarmati river used to be the lifeline of Ahmedabad city. The city was founded along the banks of the Sabarmati, in fact, in 1411. The river was the city’s main source of water, economic activities and recreation for the residents of Ahmedabad.

The sad state of the Sabarmati

As the years passed, though, the Sabarmati began to get more and more neglected. Sewage water and waste from industries flowed into the river, and slums built up alongside its banks. The detritus after performing poojas and the last rites of loved ones began to be thrown into the waters of the river. Over the years, the river began to wear a dull, grey look as it ran wearily through the city. The charm of the Sabarmati was lost, entirely.

Cut to 2005.

The Sabarmati began to see some heavy-duty action, all for the better. A plan for the refurbishing of the river (which was proposed as far back as the 1960s) finally began to, finally, see the light of day.

The slums alongside the river banks were cleared, and the displaced slum dwellers were rehabilitated. The waters of the Sabarmati underwent deep cleansing. Facilities were set up for the effective disposal of the city’s sewage and industrial waste, and to ensure that the river waters stay free of pollution.

Landscaped gardens, walking and jogging tracks, play areas for children, activity centres, food and drink stalls, boating and zip-lining facilities and well-lit pavements began to be constructed around the river. The unorganised vendors who congregated every Sunday by the riverside to sell everything from antique locks and typewriters to goats, second-hand clothes and books were organised into a well thought-out, proper marketplace.

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People enjoying a boat ride at the Sabarmati Riverfront, when we visited in January 2018

Cut to 2014.

The rejuvenation of the Sabarmati river was finally completed, at the cost of crores of Indian rupees. The Sabarmati Riverfront became a beautiful, beautiful place, well-lit and cheerful. The waters of the river now looked pristine, a pretty deep blue that were a far cry from the murky depths it held just a few years ago.

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A lady zip-lining across the Sabarmati Riverfront, when we visited in January 2018

The Sabarmati Riverfront today

Today, the Sabarmati Riverfront is a major attraction for tourists and locals alike, a weekend hot-spot. It is a lovely, lovely place, perfect to spend a few hours in. It has something to offer everyone, a well thought-out, well-constructed space. On our recent visit to Ahmedabad, we visited the Sabarmati Riverfront and, I must say, I was stunned to see just how beautiful it looked. This is the first time I saw the river after the riverfront was developed.

The pristine waters of the Sabarmati Riverfront, as it stands now

The banks of the Sabarmati have always been the venue for the International Kite Festival, but the festival became hugely popular only after the development of the riverfront. Today, the International Kite Festival here draws crowds from several countries across the globe. A flower show is also held here every year, attracting hordes of people from all over the city. We had the opportunity to check out both the International Kite Festival 2018 and the Flower Show 2018 while at the riverfront, earlier this year.

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Some participants at the International Kite Festival 2018, at the Sabarmati Riverfront, caught in action

The charm of the Sabarmati is back, big-time. The river is, once again, the lifeline of the city. Wikipedia says, “The riverfront has succeeded in re-establishing the connection between the residents of Ahmedabad and the Sabarmati”, and I very heartily agree.

A speedboat plying the waters at the Sabarmati Riverfront, when we visited in January 2018

Glimpses from the Flower Show 2018

We were lucky to be in Ahmedabad exactly when the Flower Show 2018, held at the Sabarmati Riverfront, was on. The event has been a huge success in the last few years, and it was so this year as well, if the crowds thronging the venue were anything to go by. We got to see some really lovely installations, and I managed to capture some of them on camera, despite the jostling crowds.

I leave you with some visuals from the Flower Show 2018.

The tall, tall, tall flower giraffe!
The rosy dinosaur!
Pretty lady!
Ducks! Ain’t they cute?!
I loved these flowers at an exhibit at the Flower Show. Are these what are called Cabbage Roses? I’m not sure.
A lovely exhibit at the Flower Show
More prettiness!
Reindeer (?) made of flowers
These peacocks made of flowers were so, so beautiful. These were my personal favourite at the Flower Show.
A carriage of flowers!
At a flower show, the dustbins must be decked with flowers too!
Roses and butterflies!

Do visit!

The Sabarmati Riverfront is a charming place, spacious enough to accomodate the huge crowds that can usually be found here, especially on the weekends. When we visited, it in broad daylight, the riverfront looked absolutely gorgeous. I hear the place looks stunning in the nights, all lit up. Well, day or night, this is definitely a spot that merits a visit. Whenever you are in Ahmedabad, do check out this lovely place!

There is no entry fee. If you wish to take up an activity – like boating or zip-lining – separate charges would be applicable. Do try to time your visit with to Ahmedabad to coincide with an ongoing festival here – I bet you’ll love the experience!